My husband and I travel a lot, and people sometimes ask us if we worry about our apartment while we’re gone. Our answer: not particularly. The reason: we have nothing to steal.
Sure, we have stuff—clothing, kitchenware, books, and a few pieces of furniture. However, I can’t imagine anyone wanting any of it. And if they need it so badly that they have to steal it, they probably need it more than we do.
Anything we have of value—like our iPods, cell phones, cash, and wedding rings—is almost always with us.
The only thing I’d even come close to “worrying about” is my laptop. However, it’s old enough to have little street value, and heavy enough to be unappealing to most thieves. I’d be more irritated to have to reconstruct its contents (which I could, from backups) than upset about its loss.
In fact, if it weren’t for personal safety issues (or having to evict a squatter that moves in in our absence), we could just as well leave the door unlocked.
Nine years ago, the apartment in which we were living was burglarized. The thief went through a tremendous effort to break down the door (actually tearing apart the jamb), and I love to imagine the look on his face when he saw this:
(And before anyone feels compelled to criticize our aesthetics, please remember that this was nine years ago—we were young, broke, and thought fairy lights were the ultimate in home décor. Our tastes have become a little more sophisticated since then; though admittedly, I still love fairy lights!)
Ok, back to the robbery. Now I know your typical thief isn’t exactly a rocket scientist, but you’d think that anyone seeing those two rooms would decide not to waste their time.
Not our thief. Undeterred, he ransacked every closet and drawer, optimistic that he’d find the treasure we’d surely hidden away.
His take: a portable CD player, an empty purse, a lipstick (!), and a ziplock bag of Canadian coins. When I think back on the incident, I still picture a cross-dressing burglar, jamming to some tunes, heading north to spend approximately three dollars of Canadian money.
When I returned home to find the mess, I called the police immediately, as I was afraid the robber might still be on the premises. An officer showed up a few minutes later. He looked around the apartment, eyes wide, and said, “Wow, he really wiped you out.” I couldn’t help but laugh as I rattled off the four missing items. He looked at me incredulously: “Are you sure that’s all he took?”
“Yes, officer. I’m sure.”
“Okay…” he replied, still not sure whether to believe me—but he seemed pretty happy that the police report only took a few minutes to fill out.
People say that a home burglary can be a devastating experience; but for us, life went on as usual. If it happened again today, I’d feel the same—as long as I’m not home at the time, I really don’t care what anyone takes. It’s just another great benefit of being a minimalist: the fewer your things (and the less attached you are to them), the fewer your worries.
Moral of the story #1: If you’re living a life of crime, don’t bother to rob a minimalist.
Moral of the story #2: Life is much easier when you have nothing to steal.